Lexington, KY - The Kentucky Equine Research U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team was on a mission today as four riders contested the Grade Ia and II Individual Championship Tests at the FEI World Para Dressage Championships. The scores for Jonathan Wentz and Laura Goldman proved to be doubly valuable as they not only determined their placings in the Individual Championship Test but also decided standings in the Team Championship.
Jonathan Wentz and Kai Handt's NTEC Richter Scale performed a consistent test to score a 60.286% and secure an eighteenth place finish in the Grade II Individual Championship Test. It had been Wentz's goal to improve on his performance from Tuesday, particularly in the walk work.
"It was pretty good. The goal was to get more momentum in the walk. I left it all out there," said the Richardson, TX native. "It's the best Richter has ever performed at a show, even though it is not our best score."
Riding in the Grade Ia Individual Championship Test, Laura Goldman (Highland Heights, OH) and Trudy Phillips' skewball gelding Carlingford JD provided the final score for the U.S. Team. Goldman performed a very forward and precise test with just a slight mistake in the free walk.
"I think it went pretty well. I know there were some errors but they were my fault," said Goldman "But overall it was pretty good."
Goldman finished the Individual Championship Test in fourth place with a score of 69.9%.
Four-time USEF National Para-Equestrian Champion and 2008 Paralympian Rebecca Hart and her own Norteassa were the first Americans in the ring today. Hart (Erie, PA) had originally been scheduled to compete in the team competition but elected to focus solely on the individual competition.
Norteassa and Hart performed a pleasant test that was highlighted by an accurate entry and final salute, to score a 63.619%. While Hart had hoped for a better test, she was still pleased with the Hanoverian gelding. This pair finished off the day in eleventh place.
"It was a good ride. I would like a little more energy. But he did what I asked him to do," said Hart "It's been a great experience so far."
Kim Decker of Centreville, VA also got her first chance to get in the competition ring at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games today riding Paul Decker's Dashers Destiny. Competing as individuals, the pair had a very fluid test to score a 60.9% earning them a fifteenth place finish. Decker was very pleased with her first test and the Hanoverian gelding she has been riding for three years.
"I thought it was really good. He felt like we were on. He's a good boy every time he goes in the ring."
The U.S. finished in seventh place in the Team competition of the FEI World Para Dressage Championships with a score of 398.066.
The team was composed of Wentz, Goldman, Robin Brueckmann and Susan Treabess. In the Team competition all four riders performed their Team Championship Tests on Tuesday. With the scores from the Individual Championship Tests being weighted equally to the Team Test, Brueckmann and Treabess performed their Grade IV Individual Championship Tests on Wednesday.
While the U.S. had hoped to finish higher up on the leader board, Chef d'Equipe Missy Ransehousen was still happy with her team riders and believes the U.S. Team can improve on this finish in the future.
"We just need more time. Overall I'm pleased," said Ransehousen. "Hopefully, we can all stick together and keep working together."
Great Britain was crowned FEI World Para Dressage Champions with Germany taking the Silver medal and Denmark claiming Bronze. In the Grade II Individual Championship, The Netherland's Petra Van De Sande and Toscane won the Gold medal with German Britta Napel and Aquilina 3 and Caroline Cecille Nielsem and Rostorn's Hatim-Tinn of Denmark claiming Silver and Bronze respectively. In the Grade Ia Individual Team Championship, it was clean sweep for Great Britain with Sophie Christiansen and Rivaldo of Berkeley, Anne Dunham and Teddy and Emma Sheardown and Purdy's Dream taking the top three spots. In the Grade Ib Individual Championship Test Great Britain's Lee Pearson and Gentleman and Ricky Balshaw and Academy occupied the first two placings with Jens Lasse Dokkan and Lacour of Norway finishing third.
Tomorrow the Grade Ia and Grade III Individual Freestyle Tests will take place at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Kim Decker and Laura Goldman will compete in the Grade Ia division, while Wendy Fryke and Erin Alberda will contest the Grade III Individual Freestyle.
Photo: Laura Goldman and Carlingford JD. Photo by Shannon Brinkman for USEF.